Tragic Swimming Accident Results In The Death Of An 11-Year-Old Girl

As Summer kicks off, millions of Americans are taking the time to relax and cool off with a swim at the nation’s beaches, lakes, and lagoons. Horrifyingly, Kayla Matos, a pre-teenage girl from Newark, New Jersey, has had her Summer cut tragically short after she was fatally electrocuted while swimming in a lagoon with her friends.

According to CBS New York, the 11-year-old girl had met with her friends at her home near Toms River Township. The three young girls had got changed and put on life jackets before going into the Jersey Shore lagoon for a swim. Two adults, presumed to be Kayla’s parents, were watching the children play on an inflatable raft.

In a horrific turn of events, Kayla touched a metal rail that was attached to a boat lift, electrocuting herself and one of her friends. According to an official report from Toms River Police Department, when Kayla touched the metal rail, “an electric current appeared to have energized the equipment, causing the injury.”

The supervising adults immediately called 911 and the emergency responders rushed to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and perform CPR on Kayla. However, despite their best efforts, emergency responders would later pronounce Kayla Matos dead, taking her to Toms River Hospital. Kayla’s friends were not seriously injured during the incident.

At this stage, it remains unclear how Kayla died. If electrocuted in water, the two most common causes of fatalities are direct electrocution (stoppage of the heart) or drowning from muscle paralysis (caused by an electric shock).

David Rifkin, a retired U.S. Navy Officer and spokesperson for the Electric Shock Drowning Association, has warned about the dangers of swimming near dock equipment, saying: “The condition of the electrical systems on a lot of these docks and marinas is deplorable. You have failures in wiring systems and grounding systems and ground fall protection systems. I think that one of those probably manifested itself in the death of (Kayla Matos) this weekend.”

The young girl’s death has shaken the small community to the core and the outpouring of compassion on social media has been extraordinary. “Still in disbelief!! A mother’s worst nightmare and yet so close to home. Keep smiling from heaven and give your family the strength they need to go through this. Because everyone on Earth will truly miss you!” wrote one local woman on Facebook.

Friends close to the family are believed to have created a GoFundMe page, to help support Kayla’s family. The touching page description reads: “A very sweet, angelic girl Kayla Matos was taken from us way too soon. She was, and continues to be, extremely loved by her family, friends, and school. She touched lives of so many.”

In 20 hours, the GoFundMe page exceeded the campaign goal by $50, raising $10,050. It is hoped that the money will help reduce the strain of any financial costs to Kayla’s parents, Antonio and Paula.

Officials from the Toms River Police Department, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, are still investigating the incident and the full story is yet to be determined.

Source: NY Daily News
Photo: PIX 11

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